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Aberrant host immune response induced by highly virulent PRRSV identified by digital gene expression tag profiling

Shuqi Xiao, Delin Mo, Qiwei Wang, Jianyu Jia, Limei Qin, Xiangchun Yu, Yuna Niu, Xiao Zhao, Xiaohong Liu and Yaosheng Chen*

Author Affiliations

State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:544  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-544

Published: 7 October 2010



There was a large scale outbreak of the highly pathogenic porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) in China and Vietnam during 2006 and 2007 that resulted in unusually high morbidity and mortality among pigs of all ages. The mechanisms underlying the molecular pathogenesis of the highly virulent PRRS virus (H-PRRSV) remains unknown. Therefore, the relationship between pulmonary gene expression profiles after H-PRRSV infection and infection pathology were analyzed in this study using high-throughput deep sequencing and histopathology.


H-PRRSV infection resulted in severe lung pathology. The results indicate that aberrant host innate immune responses to H-PRRSV and induction of an anti-apoptotic state could be responsible for the aggressive replication and dissemination of H-PRRSV. Prolific rapid replication of H-PRRSV could have triggered aberrant sustained expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines leading to a markedly robust inflammatory response compounded by significant cell death and increased oxidative damage. The end result was severe tissue damage and high pathogenicity.


The systems analysis utilized in this study provides a comprehensive basis for better understanding the pathogenesis of H-PRRSV. Furthermore, it allows the genetic components involved in H-PRRSV resistance/susceptibility in swine populations to be identified.